Applicants

This section is designed to help recent occupational therapy graduates, occupational therapists (OTs) working elsewhere in Canada, and internationally educated OTs, understand the College and its application process.

To use the title occupational therapist and practice in Ontario you must be registered with the College. The College sets the requirements to become an OT in Ontario.

You may not begin working* as an OT until you are registered with the College and have received written confirmation and a registration number. *Working as an OT includes participating in orientation or training at the workplace.

Important Information

Every applicant must submit the results of a Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check as part of their application to the College. The College’s mandate is public protection and VS Checks are an important step in the process to support that mandate.

Depending on where you live, it may take 1 to 12 weeks, or longer, to obtain the results of a VS Check. As registration will not be issued until results are received, we suggest applying for the VS Check well in advance of your required registration date. The College accepts VS Checks issued within the past 6 months.

Registration Requirements

The requirements for becoming an occupational therapist in Ontario are:

1. Education

A Bachelor of Science degree or Master of Science in Occupational Therapy obtained in Ontario or an academic qualification considered equivalent by the College's Registration Committee.

If you were educated outside of Canada, your education is reviewed by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) to ensure that it is substantially equivalent to the content of an Ontario occupational therapy program.

2. Clinical Practicum

Successful completion of 1000 hours of fieldwork or clinical practicum as part of the education program.

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3. Currency

600 hours of occupational therapy practice within the last 3 years; or

Successful completion a College approved Refresher Program within the last 18 months; or

Graduation from an occupational therapy program within the last 18 months.

4. Examination

Successful completion of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists' National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination.

5. Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration with the College. The requirements for professional liability insurance are set out in Part 19 of the College bylaws.

The College has confirmed that the insurance coverage offered (as of October 1, 2015) by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and Aon Healthcare Advantage meets the College requirements. You are required to send the College a copy of your insurance certificate that includes the policy number and expiry date.

The College does not endorse any insurance provider. It is the is the responsibility of each occupational therapist (OT) to determine which insurance provider and policy best meets their needs. The above noted insurance providers are third parties and not affiliated with the College. The College provides this information so OTs are aware of policies that the College has confirmed meet the requirements of the bylaws.

Insurance may be purchased elsewhere, however, evidence that it meets the College's requirements must be sent to the College for review prior to acceptance.

6. Suitability to Practise

The College must be satisfied that you will practice occupational therapy safely and ethically.

7. Language Fluency

Must be able to speak and write either English or French with reasonable fluency.

Individuals whose first language is not English or French, or whose occupational therapy education was not in English or French, must provide evidence of fluency.

8. Work Eligibility

Must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, or be authorized under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 to engage in work as an occupational therapist.

What if I don't meet the requirements?

If you do not meet one of more of the above requirements you may request a review by the College’s Registration Committee. After considering your application and submissions, the Registration Committee will make one of the following decisions:

1. issue a certificate of registration
2. issue a certificate of registration with terms, conditions and limitations
3. issue a certificate of registration if the applicant completes specified training or additional exams
4. refuse to issue a certificate of registration.

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If you disagree with a decision of the Registration Committee, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Health Professional Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). HPARB is an independent review board established under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA).

If you wish to appeal the decision, you must write to HPARB and to the Registration Committee within 30 days of receiving the Committee’s decision.  You can ask for a hearing (you and a College representative appear in person to present evidence to HPARB) or a review (HPARB members review written submissions from  you and the College). You may notify the Registration Committee by sending a letter to the Registration Manager.

HPARB may be notified at the address below. More information about HPARB can be found at www.hparb.on.ca

Health Boards Secretariat
Health Professions Appeal and Review Board
151 Bloor St. West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M5S 2T5  

HPARB decision can be appealed further to the Divisional Court of Ontario.

Registration Categories

General Registration

General registration is issued to applicants who meet all of the registration requirements. General registrants are able to practice without restriction.

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Provisional Registration

Provisional registration is issued to applicants who have not yet met the examination requirement. To register in this category applicants must:

be registered for the first available sitting of the exam;
have an offer of employment where they will be supervised by an OT who has held general registration for at least one year;
submit a completed Employer Acknowledgement Form; and
successfully complete the examination within the specified timeframe


For more information on provisional registration please see our brochure.

Temporary Registration

Temporary registration is intended for OTs who are registered in another  province or country, but need to practice in Ontario as a consultant or educator/instructor on a temporary basis. To register in this category, applicants must have:

Valid registration in a  jurisdiction with education and clinical requirements equivalent to those of the Ontario;
an offer of employment that does not exceed four months within a twelve-month period;
an OT who has had general registration for at least one year agree to supervise and be responsible for ensuring the provision of appropriate care for clients;
a completed Supervision Acknowledgement Form; and
professional liability insurance that meets the College's requirements.